Fine artist years

I knew from a young age that I wanted to be an artist although I had no real idea of what that entailed or how I would make a living doing it. As I told in my last post I figured it out at age 14 how to start. But painting window splashes was a seasonal thing. I loved to work and I needed to work year round - especially when I graduated from high school a couple of years later. I started doing signs but didn't especially like painting using oil based paints. But in those high school years I painted a lot of signs and trucks too. Trucks were especially troublesome for me.  I found I also hated repeating myself on the second door. By that time the excitement had disappeared from the job.

My older brother did oil paintings. Being in fierce competition (but friendly) with him I decided I would take up pen and ink drawings. I still had a day job at this point for I was madly in love with Janis. Her parents, from a practical accounting background liked the idea that I had a regular job. I worked at a grocery store, stocking shelves. It wasn't long until I tired of my day job, but I stuck with it, doing my art on the side - for many hours each day. Sleep was what I did when there was no other option. Finally, after dreaming and working exceptionally hard at it for almost four years Janis and I agreed it was time to hang up my grocery apron. I had 'retired' from working for others at the young age of 23. That old apron still hangs behind the door in my studio. If I am ever having a real bad day I put on the apron and am instanty reminded that even the worst day doing what I love is FAR better than actually working for a living. 

In the next years I was prolific, creating hundreds of detailed original drawings of subjects that caught my fancy, mostly old and abandoned things. Eventually limited edition prints as well. My work was featured in more than 40 galleries and print shops all over British Columbia.

I did art shows in many of the galleries each year, making me one busy guy! We put on many, many miles criss-crossing the province. I documented everything I saw along the way, eventually gathering more than 20,000 photographs for future reference.

The years I spent doing my pen and ink drawings provided training in drawing and imagining. That ability to easily draw what I saw or imagined would come in pretty handy later. The year after Janis & I were married we also visited a place that inspired me about what I really wanted to do. It would be many years before I had the skills and business connections to do this kind of work, but this is where the inspriation hit. The picture below was also taken many years later.

An art show I participated in around that time would provide me with my next opportunity.

Stay tuned for that story which follows one other chapter...

-grampa dan

Dan Sawatzky1 Comment